New Executive Director for Unitarian Shelter Announced

We are pleased to announce that our new Unitarian Shelter Executive Director is Isha Matous-Gibbs. She started her duties at the shelter April 6th.

Isha comes to us with a wealth of experience as an outreach worker with the Victoria Cool Aid Society and other organizations assisting the poor and marginalized.

We know that with her passion, dedication and skills she will continue the tradition of excellent leadership established by Lois Peterson, our retiring ED.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: On-site Sunday Services and RE Program Suspended

In response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, FUFON’s  Sunday Services and the Children’s Program will be suspended until information from BC’s Chief Health Officer confirms that the virus has been contained and public meetings can resume.

However, we are making the Sunday Services available via ZOOM technology in REAL time. A modified service will be held each Sunday starting at 11am. Please check the latest Weekly Update for the link sent each Thursday to all members and friends by email. 

An audio recording of the talk or reflection of each service will be recorded and available on our website asap after each services. Go to the Sunday Services tab then click Past Services.

Refugee Sponsorship Campaign Update

First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) is an inclusive community of 75 members and friends whose values are: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; and peace, liberty and justice for all.  Another of our core values is social responsibility.  FUFON has been part of the Nanaimo community since 1960.

For the past 11 years, we have lived our values through managing a winter shelter for homeless people in Nanaimo.  In 2018, we expanded our social justice commitment by pursuing Refugee Sponsorship to help with the global refugee crisis.  Our application to sponsor a refugee was approved by the government of Canada on November 5th.

The person we are sponsoring has already fled their home and had to abandon family, friends and livelihood. They are currently living under persecution and risk of harm and human rights violations in a country that is not their own. They are a highly trained and experienced, English-speaking professional who has a lot to give to Canada.

As a government approved sponsor, we are required to raise all funds needed to support the refugee for a year, which support must be raised in advance of the refugee’s arrival.  Due to the incredible generosity of the community, families, friends, the congregation, and others supporting our campaign, WE HAVE RAISED EVERYTHING we are required to raise under our sponsorship agreement.  The Refugee Sponsorship Committee offers a heartfelt THANK YOU!

In early December, the refugee had a positive interview with Canadian immigration authorities. We are encouraged by this news and great support, and will continue fundraising efforts until Dec. 31st for anyone desirous of making a year-end donation.  Any additional amounts raised will be used for refugee expenses.  For example, the sponsored refugee may incur expenses to obtain BC credentialing.  And if not needed for this individual, it could help us with our next  refugee sponsorship!  Or, we can donate excess funds to another local refugee sponsorship.

Please click on this link to find the FUFON Refugee Sponsorship donation page:

On behalf of FUFON’s Refugee Sponsorship Committee, thank you.

John Soer, Howard Rose, Brenda Steward, Faye Shedletzky, Bob Goodman

Reverend Debra Thorne to be FUFON’s New Minister!

A truly wonderful and joyous occasion took place at the FUFON General Meeting on Sunday, February 3 when the assembled membership voted unanimously to have Reverend Debra Thorne become our new minister.

The meeting was the culmination a busy Candidating Week that included numerous occasions for Reverend Debra and Fellowship members and friends to get to know each other.  Rev. Thorne’s week was packed with meetings and events including Board, committee and small group meetings, an open house, a building tour, Spaghetti Night, two sermons and much more.

Following the vote, Reverend Debra returned to the Hall to be greeted by a circle of very happy members singing “Circle of Song” led by Tony Turner.

After almost three years without a minister there is much excitement and anticipation as members and friends eagerly await the official arrival of Reverend Debra Thorne into our Fellowship life on August 15th.

Recent Fundraising events a great success!

Our newly created Fundraising task force has outdone itself. First a highly successful bake sale of Christmas goodies contributed by members and then the first ever Bottle drive! Stay tuned for more creative ideas from this enthusiastic group!

Bravo! Thank you fellow FUFONITES for making our Holiday Bake Sale such a huge success!


Thank you fellow FUFONITES for making our Holiday Bake Sale

such a huge success!

We cleared a record-breaking $660! A huge thank you to those who baked, brought, and bought the delicious array of wonderful holiday foods!

Thank you again for all your support to help us raise funds toward the building maintenance costs and ministerial expenses of our Fellowship.

Your Fellowship Fund Raising Team:

Julie, Anita, Lois, Tony, Val, Suzanne, Hugh, Diane and Anne

Supporting the Humpback Whales

 Jackie Hildering, of MERS (Marine Education & Research Society) gave an absolutely magnificent presentation in April titled Humpback Comeback. She has volunteered to return to speak on another subject of whales.  Below is their post on the MERS FB-page.

Meet Nico Rhodes – Our Interim Music Director

A classically trained pianist and jazz saxophonist, Nico can be heard playing everything from country to Coltrane, and everywhere from Chemainus to Stratford. A professional studio musician, composer, arranger and music director; Nico has had the privilege of performing across Canada. the western United States, Central America and Eastern Africa in a myriad of musical settings including funk bands, jazz trios, cabaret acts, chamber ensembles, and as a soloist.

Recently working with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Nico arranged and composed for the hit show “My Symphony” by Rick Scott, and the critically acclaimed “Tonight, Piaf!” by Joelle Rabu. Nico’s current musical adventure has him teamed up with Juno nominated folk musician Rick Scott, music directing nearly 200 performances at Chemainus theatre, and in the employ of the wonderful people at FUFON!